Julian and I are in the midst of looking for an apartment. Preferably a dog friendly, hardwood floored, large windowed, blasting with natural light, gas range, large balcony, few unit building, type of apartment. That’s not a lot to ask for, right? I don’t think so. We actually found one that I’ve been obsessing over. One that I’m no longer allowed to talk about because apparently I’ve been driving people crazy over it. I can’t even bring up the subject of that apartment to him (or to my mom and sisters) because if I do…well, I’m not sure what would happen If I do, but let’s just say I was threatened not to talk about it anymore. I mean, sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice (if that), in passing, over the last couple of days, and yeah okay, so I might’ve driven by the place one too many times, bordering on becoming a complete and total stalker, but it’s perfectly harmless. I have this feeling about it. I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m turning into a psychic magician or something as I get older. I don’t know. I just see myself living there, is that a crime? We’re currently in the waiting process, which happens to be the worst process of all because I have to somehow continue looking through all the other dumpy, awful, (not that one I want) apartments, just in case we don’t get my dream apartment. Just in case someone takes it from us, crushing all of my hopes and dreams in the process. Not a big deal at all.
I’ve been postponing the dreadful packing part of this whole ordeal because I’m lazy but also because…no, pretty much just because I’m lazy. I figure I’ll wait until the very end, then say something like, “I have so much work! I have to post a few things to the blog first!” And then have Julian do it all for me. *Insert evil laugh here.* Shhh, don’t tell him I told you that. It’s our little secret. I did go out and get some boxes though. That should count for something. And by “go out and get some” I mean I bought a few things online and didn’t throw away the boxes they were delivered in. That still counts. I’m way ahead of the game.
With all of this looking for apartments, driving by that one dream place, and pretending to pack, I’ve been too busy to cook much around here. I somehow keep thinking about that one kitchen I’ll soon be cooking in and how great it’ll be to have so much more space…oh I’m not supposed to talk about it anymore. Anyhow, I’ve been making really easy dishes that require no work at all and can be made rather quickly. Things we can eat while we drink wine because it takes a lot out of a person to look for the perfect place to move into. I’ve always been a big fan of tapas. What about you? They make me feel so fancy whenever we go out to eat some. Also because it’s just a big ol’ sharing feast and you don’t feel super stuffed, like you can barely move, after you eat it. Also, something about tiny food just makes me so happy. I like to pretend I’m a giant eating normal sized food, but in my giant hands it’s super tiny….gosh now that I think about it, I really need to grow up. I should go and pretend to pack some more. Let’s all enjoy this bruschetta though.
The most important step to this recipe is getting the bread ready. The bread, without a doubt, makes this entire recipe what it is. That’s a lot to have to live up to, so why is the bread so crucial? It’s not like we’re making our own bread from scratch or anything. Who has that kind of time? No, we’re just using store bought bread. I have a sourdough loaf that I cut into somewhat thick slices on an angle. Nothing fancy, but we are going to take it to the next level.
Lay out the bread on a baking sheet, in a single layer. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and toast it under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. You want them lightly golden brown.
Once it’s toasty and crusty on each side, remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately (but oh so carefully because it is super hot) rub each slice with a peeled garlic clove. Get in there in each slide and rub the garlic all up in it, like if you’re grating it with a microplane. A delicious bread microplane.
It might seem like a difficult task, but set the bread off to the side and forget about it while we make the filling. I told you it would be difficult.
P.S. I’d totally be fine with eating this bread just like it is. Having this post be a garlic toast and calling it a day, but somehow I feel like I owe you more than that. Like you wouldn’t be satisfied with just garlic toast….that’s really odd. So I’ll go ahead and make the filling as planned.
We start by sautéing a chopped onion and minced garlic in a bit of olive oil.
Season the onions and garlic with a bit of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
**Tip: I like to season as I go, whenever I cook. So I add a tiny bit of seasoning to each layer of the dish, that way at the end, it’s perfectly seasoned! It doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s okay, because it happens to work for me.**
Add the diced Spanish chorizo to the skillet, and cook it until it’s crispy and slightly browned.
Keep in mind, when you’re chopping the onions and chorizo, that they should be cut into small pieces since we’re going to be piling this mixture on top of small slices of bread. You don’t want big chunky pieces, because it’ll be harder to eat as a small appetizer.
**Tip: Spanish chorizo is completely different than Mexican chorizo. For this recipe, it’s best to use Spanish chorizo, because it’s pre-cooked (usually smoked) and it’s ready to go. You don’t have to worry about anything other than browning it in the skillet, really fast. Plus the flavors just work better in this dish. It is tapas after all. The Mexican chorizo isn’t cooked and you crumble it as you brown it. It just doesn’t work for this dish.**
Add in the chard to the skillet. It might seem like a lot of greens and may not even fit in the pan completely but throw it in anyway and allow it to cook down. You’ll be surprised how much it wilts and a lot becomes practically nothing.
**Note: I used a mixture of two different kinds of greens. A swiss chard and a red chard. For no particular reason other than I thought it would be nice to blend the two together. I like the color in the red chard so I decided to add it in with the swiss chard.**
**Tip: Whenever I cook with greens, I like to add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. I think it enhances their flavor. You can add some, like I did, or keep it out. It’s not that big of a deal to the recipe.**
We’re going to add even more flavor by deglazing the pan with a bit of wine.
**Note: Whenever you cook with wine, the alcohol always cooks out and all you’re left with is incredible flavor. Some people are skeptical cooking with wine, but if you remember that you don’t need a super expensive bottle at all, and that the alcohol does cook out, you’ll be fine!**
I’m using a dry white wine (Chardonnay), but feel free to use something else you’d prefer.
Allow the wine to cook down and most of the liquid to evaporate from the pan. We don’t want too much moisture in the topping because it’ll make our bread too soggy. I don’t know about you but nothing sounds worse than soggy bread, (especially after we went through the trouble of toasting it in the oven)!
The last thing we’re going to add is a can of white beans.
**Tip: I recommend rinsing and draining the beans in a strainer, that way you wash away a lot of that salty juice it’s been sitting in. It’s better if you control the salt going into the dish rather than having the beans control it.**
Stir everything together, add a bit more salt and black pepper and cook until the beans are heated through. Taste a bit of the filling and check for seasonings, if you feel like it needs more black pepper (like I always do, because I’m obsessed with black pepper) then by all means add a bit more.
Once the beans are warmed through, and you’re ready to go, pile this filling on top of the toasted garlic bread slices from earlier. Then grate a few big slices of manchego cheese on top.
**Tip: You can make the filling in advance, if you’d like. Then just reheat it whenever you’re ready to serve the bruschetta! It’ll make it even easier to put together this delicious tapas style appetizer!**
**Note: Manchego cheese is a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese that happens to be extremely tasty. You can find it in most larger grocery stores, or you might have to look at specialty stores. I know for a fact that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s usually has it…in case you’re familiar with those grocery stores.**
This is a great addition to any party you’re throwing, if you’re drinking some wine and have a few cheeses, crackers and olives laid out. It’s the perfect appetizer because it’s loaded with great flavor, yet only has a handful of ingredients, plus it took virtually no time at all to whip up. That’s always a great thing if you ask me, which I know you were.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be satisfied with just this for dinner. Grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy this as a light summer-time supper. Sure, you’ll have more than just two, but that’s okay because summer meals allow you to eat light and enjoy the warm evenings. No one wants to spend too much time in a hot kitchen worrying about a bunch of dishes to make an entire meal complete with a starch, vegetable and protein. That’s the last thing I want to do when it’s a thousand degrees outside, even in the evenings. If it makes you feel better, you have veggies in here and protein, loaded on top of bread, so we’re good to go.
You can keep things vegetarian if you want to omit the chorizo altogether from the dish. It’s only one component of the bruschetta and I won’t be completely upset if you decided to leave it out. Sure, I won’t consider you a friend anymore, but granted, I do understand that there are vegetarians out there. At the same time, Spanish chorizo can be tricky to find so a Portuguese spicy sausage works as a great substitute. I think that’s easier to come across at the grocery store. Whatever you decide to use or not use, you have to make it. Relax and enjoy the summer. There’s nothing we can do about the heat, it’s here to stay for a while. We might as well embrace it. Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 thin sourdough or French baguette, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 pound Spanish chorizo, diced
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 bunch red chard
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
- 1 (14oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- Manchego cheese, for topping
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Lay out the bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toast the bread under the broiler for a few minutes on each side, keeping close watch on it so it doesn't burn, or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and immediately rub the toasted bread with the peeled garlic cloves. Set to the side.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and throw in the chopped onions and minced garlic. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sauté for a few minutes to soften. Add the diced chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo has crisped. Add the chopped swiss and red chard to the skillet, cooking until the greens have wilted down completely. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a few grinds of freshly grated nutmeg. Add in the white wine and allow to cook down and reduce almost completely. Finely, add the white beans. Cook until the beans have warmed through.
- When ready to serve, pile on the cooked white bean, chorizo and chard mixture, on top of the toasted garlic bread from earlier. Add a few peels of Manchego cheese at the end, on top of each bruschetta. Filling can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Reheat before serving. Enjoy!
- yield: about 8 to 6 servings (2 bruschetta per person)